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Atalanta’s unprecedented barrier in a free kick that revolutionized Serie A

Atalanta’s free kick against Milan

He Atalanta surprised the Milan this weekend not only for beating him on the scoreboard, but also in the game, having beaten him 3-0 in a key duel for Serie A, which prevented the leader from continuing to add and his followers from discounting him. The visiting team won the San Siro thanks to the Argentine’s goals Cristian Romero, Josip Ilicic and the colombian Duvan Zapata.

But what most astonished the players of the local team, the fans and the Italian press itself was the play that occurred before the end of the first half, in a free kick in favor of the Atalanta, on the edge of the area. Ilicic He was the one who took charge of the execution, but before kicking, three of his teammates got in front of the ball, with their backs to him and facing the goal.

In this way, a double barrier was formed, one composed of players from the visiting team, and another, more nurtured and respecting the distance, from the premises. Obviously, at the time of execution, the front row disarmed forward at the final whistle and cleared the way for the Slovenian forward’s shot, although the goalkeeper Donnarumma managed to cover it.

The action went viral on social networks and opened the doors to a possible strategy that other teams could adopt, since despite the fact that the free kick did not end in a goal, what was planned did work. Is that by putting three players in front, the goalkeeper’s vision is reduced and thus reduces his reaction time. In addition, these footballers escape forward before the order of the judge and that allows them to reach a possible rebound in speed.

Duván Zapata scored 3-0 against Milan (EFE)
Duván Zapata scored 3-0 against Milan (EFE)

This play is quite a novelty, but it is not the first time that such a creative idea has been seen in a free kick close to the goal. They have been seen from a barrier standing on the goal line, instead of at the minimum distance allowed, players are also usually seen lying on the grass in case the shot goes down, and barriers have even been set up whose members crouch down to the last moment so that the player cannot calculate the height he needs for the ball to exceed it.

In turn, in January this year, an investigation conducted by experts from the Queen’s University of Belfast determined that, contrary to expectations, a goalkeeper is less likely to be able to stop a free kick if there is a barrier of players between him and the ball. It’s that the wall gets in the way of the goalkeeper’s sight and slows down his reaction time.

The goalkeeper’s view is blocked for about 200 milliseconds and his reaction time is up to 90 milliseconds slower than when no teammates get in the way. As a result, the researchers calculate that the goalkeeper is 13% less likely to make a successful save if there is a barrier.

With respect to Serie A, Milan He already accumulates two defeats in 2021, both at home. The other was at the beginning of the month, when they were beaten 3 to 1 by Juventus, but they are still the leader of the table with 43 units, two more than Inter.

For his part, Atalanta, who had lost strength with two draws in their two previous matches (Genoa and Udinese), a new impetus is given in the fight for high places and is provisionally placed fourth, within the zone of Champions League, in the same line as the Juventus.


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About the author

Kim Diaz

Kim recently joined the team, and she writes for the Headline column of the website. She has done major in English, and a having a diploma in Journalism.

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